Submitting a short story for publication - where to begin

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Thread: Submitting a short story for publication - where to begin

  1. #1
    Member PaperbackWriter's Avatar
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    Submitting a short story for publication - where to begin

    I was sure this had been touched on before but I didn't find a topic on it. I'd like to start submitting my short stories for publication but I have no idea how it works or where to start. I don't currently subscribe to any periodicals that publish short fiction and know very little about that industry. I'm nervous and a little overwhelmed with all the information Google has to offer. I'd rather get some feedback from people who have already been through the process. Any and all feedback/advice will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    What genre do you write in? Literary fiction? Science fiction? Fantasy? Urban? I find it helps to first know what market(s) would best fit your writing.

    Then, there are submission search engines that can help you find and keep track of publications that match your style of writing. Duotrope ($50 USD annual subscription) and Submission Grinder (free subscription) are two popular ones.

    Really, it's just a matter of finding publications that feature writing in a similar vein to yours. Then, read their submission guidelines and, when you feel ready, follow their instructions to submit your writing to them.

    Keep in mind that there are different levels of fiction markets, in terms of pay (and, by extension, difficulty when it comes to being accepted): nonpaying markets, token markets, semi-professional markets, and professional markets.

    Duotrope has a simple chart defining each of these:

    N Non-paying Does not pay in real-world money, but may offer copies. A 3,000-word story sale would result in US $0.
    T Token Payment Amounts to less than 1 US cent per word. Sometimes referred to as an honorarium. A 3,000-word story sale would result in US $29.99, at most.
    S Semi-Pro Amounts to payment between 1 US cent per word and 4.9 US cents per word. A 3,000-word story sale would result in as little as US $30 to as much as US $149.99.
    P Professional Amounts to payment from 5 US cents per word and up. A 3,000-word story sale would result in anything from US $150, all the way up to the thousands.

    Generally, the higher up the pay scale you go, the higher a rejection rate you should expect. For that reason, a lot of writers like to approach the non-paying and token markets first, to help build their confidence and their credentials.

    (I went the opposite route and only approached the professional markets, and I spent two years receiving nothing but form rejections. )

    If you're lucky, you should be a published writer soon! And if you receive rejections instead, don't feel bad. Rejections are badges of honor. Any submitting writer worth their weight in salt knows that the path to success is paved by rejection letters.

  3. #3
    Do the best magazines in the States entertain manuscripts sent from the UK? There looks to be a much bigger market in the States, and I am about to dive in. I am going to be submitting literary fiction.


  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
    Do the best magazines in the States entertain manuscripts sent from the UK? There looks to be a much bigger market in the States, and I am about to dive in. I am going to be submitting literary fiction.
    Absolutely.
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    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


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  5. #5
    Member PaperbackWriter's Avatar
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    Thank you for your quick and detailed reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle R View Post
    What genre do you write in? Literary fiction? Science fiction? Fantasy? Urban? I find it helps to first know what market(s) would best fit your writing.
    I don't know if I have a genre per say but I know which genres I don't fit into: science fiction, fantasy (I don't know what urban means in this respect and I'm also not sure exactly what literary fiction means either) Here is one of the stories I'm considering submitting:
    http://www.writingforums.com/entries/2090-Shannon

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle R View Post
    Generally, the higher up the pay scale you go, the higher a rejection rate you should expect. For that reason, a lot of writers like to approach the non-paying and token markets first, to help build their confidence and their credentials.
    See, I didn't even realize publications paid for accepted submissions. I definitely want to start small so I can build up confidence and practice.

  6. #6
    Shannon,

    Your blog is accessible to anyone (not just members of WF) and therefore, having it published there means it is previously published work. That is pretty important when it comes to submitting your work as it would only qualify for pubs that accept 'reprints.'

    If you are considering publishing something and you want to get it critiqued, be sure to do so in the private workshops. Otherwise your work is considered previously published.

  7. #7
    Member PaperbackWriter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TKent View Post
    Shannon,

    Your blog is accessible to anyone (not just members of WF) and therefore, having it published there means it is previously published work. That is pretty important when it comes to submitting your work as it would only qualify for pubs that accept 'reprints.'

    If you are considering publishing something and you want to get it critiqued, be sure to do so in the private workshops. Otherwise your work is considered previously published.
    Oh dear I didn't know that. Well, that same story was recently accepted to be published in my college's annual creative arts magazine. It was the first time I submitted anything and I did it for extra credit for a creative writing class. Should I remove it form the blog or is it too late or does it matter?

  8. #8
    It depends on the publication. They may not mind that it is published publically someplace else. I might remove it from the blog if it were me, unless you know the mag doesn't mind it is up someplace else

    Quote Originally Posted by PaperbackWriter View Post
    Oh dear I didn't know that. Well, that same story was recently accepted to be published in my college's annual creative arts magazine. It was the first time I submitted anything and I did it for extra credit for a creative writing class. Should I remove it form the blog or is it too late or does it matter?

  9. #9
    What about for humor, family, etc? Any site for finding those?

  10. #10
    Let me suggest that you join the Humor Writers group on LinkedIn... 1350 members... or the smaller group of that name on Facebook.
    Your best bet there is book anthologies, I would say. Which is also a great "platform" plank, better than a magazine because it stays around forever and gives you an amazon author credit and page.

    BTW... "urban" means "black"
    See my books Hidden Content (and in heaven).

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